The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) has withdrawn its support for the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), a government payment platform, for its members across the Nigerian universities.
The workers’ union, which had initially supported the initiative, said its trust in the system was betrayed by the Federal Government “as reflected in the various irregularities noticed in the payment of February salaries of its members.”
In a statement issued on Monday and signed by the union’s spokesman, Abdulsobur Salaam, SSANU noted that all peculiarities it identified before the implementation, and which the office of the accountant general of the federation and other implementing partners agreed to incorporate, were disregarded in the implementation.
The statement reads in part; “Kindly recall that we keyed into the IPPIS with an understanding that all the peculiarities in the University system, particularly pertaining to our members would be adequately addressed, especially the issues of allowances, appointments, increments, third party deductions etc. Various concerns were raised and our fears were allayed through various correspondences, meetings and practical sessions where the application was displayed and all issues brought forward were addressed.
It was only after exhausting all the queries and getting satisfactory answers that our union, SSANU and its JAC counterpart NASU, decided to key into the platform in the overall interest of the system and our members.
“It is therefore shocking to us that our first real taste of the IPPIS application is totally different from what was presented. All the concerns raised by our unions were not implemented and disregarded. Apart from the breach of trust which has now manifested, our members across the universities are groaning from various anomalies witnessed in their salaries thereby forcing them into great hardships which they never bargained for when they keyed into the IPPIS.
As a leadership, this is totally unacceptable! The recent development has once again shown, despite our attempts to test otherwise, that Government can never be trusted and as such, based on what we have been subjected to with the February salary, we do not blame our lecturer counterparts, ASUU, for resisting the IPPIS from the beginning.”
The union has, therefore, requested the government to stop using the new platform to pay its members, and that reversal to the old platform of the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), would be appreciated.
The union also warned against the deployment for, its members, a new model – University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) proposed by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to be integrated into the IPPIS.
“…While we place on record, the right of ASUU to reach an understanding with Government on this hybrid payment platform, we note that this can only be implemented for ASUU members as at today and if it is to be implemented across board, it must be with the consent of the other university based unions.
“Having keyed into the IPPIS project and gotten an unsavory first taste, we shall not accept any other payment platform which does not carry us along. If UTAS is a general University payment platform, we must be guaranteed that its features accommodate the peculiar needs and challenges of the non-teaching staff in the system. If this is not guaranteed, the hybrid application shall be rejected in totality by our members,” the statement added.
Like SSANU like COEASU
Earlier, the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) had condemned the irregularities observed in the February salaries of its members paid by the government, saying the deployment of the IPPIS disregarded its members’ peculiar allowances, and particularly the Peculiar Earned Academic Allowance (PEAA).
A statement signed by the union’s president, Nuhu Ogirima, said “For the avoidance of doubt, the February salary paid by the federal government did not include the peculiar allowances of the staff of the subsector, especially the Peculiar Earned Academic Allowance (PEAA).
“Also not paid are staff on sabbatical leave. In addition, deductions were effected on all staff salaries indiscriminately for the national housing fund (NHF), a voluntary scheme to which most staff did not subscribe.”
The union described the development as “a serious breach of trust and, therefore, considered the FGN betrayal not acceptable.”
COEASU has, therefore, advised the government to urgently address the challenge, warning that failure to do so could lead to disruption of academic activities across the colleges of education nationwide.
ASUU had, last week, embarked on a two-week warning strike over similar issue. The development, which had disrupted academic activities across many campuses nationwide, had also forced many students back home.
However, the government met with the leadership of the striking union with a promise to look into its demands, especially the integration of its proposed salary payment model to the existing IPPIS.
Indications have, however, shown that failure to abide by the contents of the agreements reached with the union may lead to another round of industrial action that shut down the university system for longer time.
We’re unaware of SSANU, COEASU complaints –OAGF
Meanwhile the spokesperson for the Office of the Accountant General for the Federation, Henshaw Ogubike, said his office was unaware of the unions’ complaints.
Mr. Ogubike, therefore, requested that our reporter sent him the statements issued by the workers’ unions for onward transfer to the director in charge of the IPPIS.
“Most times these unions just issue statements without writing us. As I am talking to you, I am not aware of this matter but as soon as you forward to me, the director will brief us for proper response,” Mr. Ogubike said.
However, as at the time of filing this report, he was yet to give the position of the office on the matter.